Saturday, July 27, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 208

As student manager of the UWW Career social media, I find a lot of articles and advice about everything career-related stuff. From interview tips and what (not) to wear, to how you can score a 'green' job;' from how to network if you're an introvert to buying gadgets to make your office life easier; from why sitting at your desk is dangerous, to how to work a career fair like you're Tyra Banks on the runway.

I'm so fortunate I have this internship. Not only do I LOVE what I get to do every day - which is working on social media marketing/management - but I get to learn about everything that has to do with scoring a great career!
I find a lot of interesting articles, and this one is from Career Builder, a website I search often to find good articles. It inspired me to write a blog post here about my experience with the types of jobs I've had.

4 Jobs Everyone Should Have
By Rachel Farrell

Before I started working in the 'real world,' I had several part-time jobs. I babysat. I worked in a fast-food restaurant. I worked in retail. I worked as a waitress at a bar in my hometown. And each time I came home complaining after a hard day's work, my mom would tell me that someday, I would realize the value in the job I had.
Fast-forward some years later, and only now do I realize the meaning of her words. Every job I had taught me something, not just about work ethic, but also about life. Here are four jobs that can teach you valuable life lessons:

1. Server
Everyone's been to a restaurant with bad service. You have a slow, inattentive server. Your food comes out the wrong way. And as a result, you tip the bare minimum - or nothing at all.

But have you ever stopped to think that it's not always the server's fault? (I mean, sometimes it is, but not always). He or she could have given the cook your correct order - but the cook messed up. A colleague could have called in sick, leaving your server with all the tables in the restaurant. Yet the server takes the blame.

What you'll learn: A job in food service teaches you empathy. Not only for the server, but for people in general. After all - not everything is as it seems. Think about that the next time you want to leave a next-to-nothing tip.

[If I ever have children, when they get to the right age, I will make them - no, I will strongly suggest - that they get a job as a waitress or bartender. Maybe not as their first job, but as a job they start in high school. That way they will have that experience and skills to take with them to college, so they can waitress on the side or during the summers. 

I don't think that's mean, because I think everyone should experience waitressing or serving someone at least once in their life. Waitressing changed the way I experience going out to eat. Immensely. I've also learned to tip more than what you would normally tip. Servers live on their tips. Sure, they get $2 an hour, but that really isn't much.]

The next three tips include retail clerk, customer service and manual labor. I haven't had any of these jobs, so I'm not going to copy them, but you can view the article here.

Like I said, this article got me thinking about all the jobs I've had and what I've learned from them. Enjoy.

Squire's Dog Haus at Racine County Fair

This was my first ever job. And let me tell you right away - I hated it. My sister Cary's friend owned this portable hot dog truck, and Cary got my sister Beth and I a job working in it. It was fine because I worked with my older sister, and it was only for two or three weeks, but MAN we came home smelling like grease and corn dogs every night. We also had to wear our hair in hair nets under baseball caps AND tennis shoes (three things I despise...I know, I'm a brat). I worked there the summer when I was 14 or 15, and it's been so long that I don't even remember which fair it was at, or if it was even called Squire's Dog Haus. I must have blocked out those memories.

I did get to learn how to deep fry corn dogs and things like that. I also took a citric acid shot with one of the guys who Beth and I worked with. He was Beth's age, and she kind of knew him, so it wasn't weird. I mean, it was weird taking a shot of citric acid, my god were we immature and stupid. But now I can look back and laugh at it ha ha ha.

What I've learned: Never take a shot of any kind of acid, no matter how cute the boy is who wants to do it with you.

Note: this is NOT the guy who I did a citric acid shot with, but it could very well be Mr. Squire himself. This is EXACTLY how the inside of the dog haus looked like, even down to the names and prices of the food we sold.

Pharmacy Station

I got this job the summer when I was 15. My mom had connections - she knew many of the employees and the pharmacists. We actually went camping that summer in August with one of the pharmacist's families. And one night while camping, the pharmacist, Kathy, asked me if I wanted a job at the Pharmacy, and before I knew it, I was working there before I started school!

I love working at the pharmacy. That's probably why I've kept this job for going on 7 years! I was there when the Pharmacy was located where McDonald's is now, I was there when we did the big move - from Jefferson St to Pine St (which was only a little more than half a mile away), I was there when Kathy's sons won a championship little league game and traveled to Indianapolis for the final round, and I was there when a woman and man tried to steal some needles for their illegal drugs. It's been a good time!

But in all honesty, my favorite part about working at the Pharmacy is the people I get to work with. I don't want to play favorites (okay yes I do ;)) but my favorite person I work with is Judy. She is my favorite because she is also a Delta Zeta, and she also attended UW-Whitewater. She's maybe about 60 years old, but works long hours about four days a week and she's in good shape, too! When I first met her about 7 years ago, I heard someone say, 'Judy is so nice. She wouldn't hurt a fly!' Imagine the nicest, most adorable and most caring woman ever. This is Judy.

What I've learned: If you don't have insurance and end up with a serious injury, illness, or disorder, your prescriptions will be very, very expensive. 

You also do not need a license to count pills out and fill the bottle with them and put the label on the bottle. This is called teching and I've been doing it since I was 17. If you want to make more money doing it, then yes, you should get a pharmacy technician degree.
Also, if you don't know the answer to a question a customer is asking, always ask a pharmacist. The pharmacist knows everything (and I'm not saying that sarcastically).
Take care of your health now, because when you're old and sick, you do not want to be taking 17 different kinds of pills like some Pharmacy customers do.

Browns Lake Golf Course

My sister Cary also got me this job, now that I think of it. I was looking for another summer job because I wasn't working a lot of hours at the Pharmacy that summer, I think when I was 19 or 20, so Cary talked to her friend who owned the Browns Lake Golf Course, I went in for an interview, and I was hired!.... as the person who works inside making hamburgers, french fries, getting people beer, and cleaning the building. So, not a cart girl, as I was hoping.

Nope - instead of driving around a golf course all day, I worked inside a stale building making fried food and serving people beer all day. I was told that cart girls had to earn their position, which meant that the cart girls had been working there for a few years. But I soon figured out that 'earning' the cart girl position meant you had to be pretty enough. Which obviously I wasn't.

But it was whatever. I only worked one day a week and quit as soon as I could. I appreciate Cary getting me that job. She worked at a golf course when she was my age and she loved it. I just had a different experience. And as I'm writing all my jobs out I'm realizing that I'm such a brat and should just shut up now.

What I've learned: There are SO MANY different types of beers! I remember being amazed by that. There's Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Platinum, and that's only one brand!

I also learned that golf may be the only sport (if you can really call it a sport) where you can drink while playing. And you may even be better if you have one or two beers in you!

I might've enjoyed my job more if this was my view.

Huron Street Pub & Grill

This was the first waitressing job I've ever had. I've always wanted to be a waitress and I've always wanted to work on Mackinac Island, so getting this job was a dream come true, it seemed like. This was last summer, when I was 21. The summer before, I met Ian when I was on vacation on Mackinac with my family, who worked at the Pub and got me this job.

I don't have anything good to say about this job, to be honest. I mean, I learned a lot about waitressing. I learned how to carry drinks on a tray. I learned that you will get someone's food order wrong at least once (but then you'll get to eat the mistake). I learned that I absolutely hate working past 10 pm and I couldn't tell a fuzzy navel from a Tequila sunrise. I learned that Mackinac Island loves their whitefish (I think we had like 5 different whitefish items on the menu).

What I've really learned: 'If you don't like your job, quit. Find something better.' I'm sure we've all heard variations of this quote, and it's been pounded into our Gen Y brains, for we're the generation of not taking anyone's shit and following our dreams and all that crap. It's a long story, but basically my manager - whose name was Chicken, good lord - gave us poor waitresses so much shit and said so many racial and sexual slurs that I quit because of him. The manager at my second job on Mackinac was much better. So, I've learned that a good manager is like a unicorn.

After searching for some pictures of the Pub, I also found some what NOT to do's on none other than TripAdvisor. Every restaurant on Mackinac is sort of competing to be #1 on TripAdvisor for restaurants on Mackinac. The Pub was never high up on the list, and I wonder if it had to do with Tony's quick, spiteful responses to negative comments? Here is just one recent response:

'Sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience at our restaurant. I am more sorry with the way that you treated my server. Kristi has been with us for 3 seasons and is one of the best we have. She went to get the manager because she was tired of dealing with your rude attitude ... You left, and I am grateful for that.'

Seabiscuit Cafe

It was a miracle that I got this job. I did have another job lined up, otherwise I wouldn't have quit the Pub to walk around aimlessly looking for a job in the middle of the summer. But - that job fell through, and I am okay with it, because it led me to Seabiscuit Cafe, where one day in July I asked the manager if they were hiring and about three days later I was moving my stuff from my old apartment to the apartment above Seabiscuit. Win!

I learned a lot of things at Seabiscuit Cafe. Whenever I talk about waitressing on Mackinac, I'm talking about my experiences at Seabiscuit. 

What I've learned: Waitressing is freaking hard! And so is carrying huge table-sized trays full of heavy dishes full of food! I don't remember a lot from working at the Pub, mostly because I blocked out all the memories of when Chicken was around, which was always, but I'm sure I got overwhelmed there too. But at Seabiscuit, I got so overwhelmed sometimes I just wanted to cry. Or sit down, put my feet up, and stuff my face with french fries and lemonade. I learned that if you're calm, the customers will be calm. If you're happy, your customers will be happy. If you kill the 50 year old boaters with kindness, they will still be jerks, and that's okay because they are boaters and being jerks is what they do best.

I'm not going to write about my job with Career & Leadership Development because I see that as a 'real' job. And for the Edge, well, you all know how I feel about working there :)

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